The 7mm Valkyrie/7mm VAR is perfect for this role, it’s exactly what I wanted, it’s a cartridge that fits in the in the AR15 platform (so I could keep it light weight and use more available components) that could shoot a heavier bullet but still be flat shooting. Where I deer hunt most of our hunting is in thick woods or swamps, located near Holcombe, Wisconsin it’s in the northern corner of Chippewa County in Northwest Wisconsin. We hunt tamarack and tag alder
swamps surrounded by raspberry bushes so thick cottontails could not make it through without losing some fur. When we are not doing drives (yes, it’s legal in Wisconsin and part of our hunting tradition) we may sit in stands overlooking swamps or on the many irregular shaped farm fields and logging roads.
The 7mm VAR fit my requirements perfectly, with my 16.5’’ barrel and a 2x7x33 or an Eotech my gun weighs 7 pounds. It is capable of pushing 120gr Nosler ballistic tips 2800 fps, 130gr Speer 2700 fps, 139gr Hornady SST at 2560 fps, 160 federal fusion at 2466 fps, 168 Nosler custom competition at 2425fps. This is more than adequate for deer and Black Bear out to 400 yards or more with most loads. This Carbine was built for my son Hoyt to shoot out of a stand.
The 7mm VAR is for reloaders only and does not require anything too special to load if you buy brass converted already. Hodgdons Leverevolution has been giving the best velocities, CFE223 being second, with the 130 and up class bullets, H335 and 8208BRX have been great with the 120s and up. I also have a 20’’ barrel and the velocities have been consistently about 28 fps per inch faster, longer barrels will get even more velocity. Many loads have already shown SUB MOA capability with a few less than .5 MOA.
The brass I use is made from 6.5x47 Lapua. It has a small primer and will give the best case life. It can be made from surplus .308/7.62 NATO or other 308 or 6.5 Creedmoor brass but it is much more work with lots of cases needing to be scrapped due to malformation when sizing. It’s just not worth all the work compared to the lapua brass.
Load data is being worked up for many different bullet, primer and powder combinations. We will have a complete load book eventually with a load to cover just about any practical use with real world data. All of guns are shot off the bench, they are not a test barrel locked in a vice. The data is also being shot in barrels 16.5” to 24” in the Ar15 platform. We have shot Speer 110gr TNT up to Nosler Custom Competition 168gr which are both super accurate even out of the 16.5” they are near one hole capable at 100yds. This could easily be a do it all hunting rifle for many people, from taking predators and varmints up to bear and elk. It will defiantly be the coolest gun in Deer camp.
Others using the cartridge with heavier bullets will load them longer (2.345’’)so they may (window) or cut out the front of the magazine, ( there is a good video that shows how to do this) I prefer to only shoot bullets up to 145gr for deer and load all of mine to magazine length or slightly shorter. The PRI 6.8 magazines work best, they are waffled and are much stiffer, just holding one in your hand will let you know it’s built to be tough. Cheaper mags can be used but they will not have the capacity due to the thin weaker construction letting the sidewalls bulge out. So far my favorite bullet has been the Speer 130gr with CFE 223 it has been super accurate with several groups less than 0.5in. The recoil is not too bad either, the 16.5’’ was built for my son Hoyt who at 9 years and about 70# says it’s about like his .410 shotgun with 3” heavy loads.
The 7VAR has exceeded my expectations in every way. Having standard factory load 7mm-08 performance in a semi auto gun that’s easy to customize and easy to carry are a big plus for me. Who can deny the power and long range capabilities of the 7mm-08.
Pictured is 7mm Valkyrie with a 130gr Speer loaded to 2.295 and a Hornady .223 55gn v-max loaded to 2.250
The 20” upper is a billet from Midwest Industries with a BCM carrier. The hand guard is a Midwest Industries Gen2 SS free float. It is by far my favorite hand guard. It will wear a Leopold VX1 2-7x33 scope.
The lower receiver pictured is a Midwest Industries billet with a Geissele SSA-E trigger, it’s nice and I have no complaints other than the cost.
Ace skeleton stock is by far my favorite light weight fixed stock. The foam is nice on the face when it’s cold.
I use Simmons 6-24x50 whitetail classic scopes for load development. The cross hairs are a little thick but I use the 1” orange target spots with the little black diamond and can line it up perfect every time and the glass is good enough even on foggy days. For $100 you can’t beat it.
The Nikon 223 mounts work well and were a deal, $59 at Cabela’s on sale, the 2 piece Nikon are also working out well with no issues.
Both are Cerekoted Magpul OD green, and have the large BCM gunfighter charging handle, they are nice when you have optics or are trying to use it with thick gloves. Midwest Industries low pro gas blocks.
We look forward to hunting this fall with the 7mm Valkyrie and I’m sure there will be many others using it in the near future also.
Rick Banulis (Sconsin Rick)